Lavish, glittery shoe soaps from local skin care line Wabi Sabi Soaps and Sundries (www.wabisabisoaps.com) were quite the catch at Muses. Founded in 2011 by New Orleans native Bridget Gillane, the line boasts handmade soaps, lotion bars, salt scrubs and soaking salts made with locally grown herbs and free of preservatives and parabens.
An art teacher by day, Gillane's experience in art and interior design lends itself to Wabi Sabi Soap and Sundries' product development and branding: "Wabi-sabi," a term commonly employed by artists, means "finding beauty in the imperfect," one of Gillane's production ideals. Another is providing consumers with natural, spa-quality products. Items are made with olive, coconut, avocado and almond oils, cocoa, mango and shea butters, and therapeutic essential oils. Quality raw materials set products apart from those found in most household-name skin care lines, Gillane says. "Customers notice a difference in their skin's moisture almost immediately," she says. "Many people who react negatively to mass-produced products have no irritation when using our products. I also get a ton of compliments on the blends of fragrances and essential oils."
Anyone who didn't catch a shoe soap at Muses this year will be glad to know that they will return next year. She also makes large lotion bars on request and designs seasonal items. Gillane is developing perfume oils with notes of New Orleans scents, including white magnolia, night jasmine and sweet olive.
Wabi Sabi Soaps and Sundries products are available for purchase at Salire Fitness and Pilates Studio (4209 Magazine St., 821-4896; www.salirefitness.com) and online at Gillane's Etsy shop (www.etsy.com/shop/-wabisabisoaps). — MEGAN BRADEN-PERRY
Gillane's handmade soaps retail for $7.50 each at Salire Fitness and Pilates Studio.